KYOTO (Kyodo) Kyoto Prefectural Police arrested three Kyoto University students Thursday for allegedly gang-raping two female students after getting them drunk at a party during a variation of the game spin the bottle.

The suspects, all former members of the university’s famed Gangsters football team, were identified as Junpei Shirai, 22, an engineering major, Ryo Ikeguchi, 23, an agriculture student, and 22-year-old Masahiro Kido, who is studying economics.

All three have denied the charges, police said.

According to a probe, the three planned to sexually assault the 19- and 20-year-old victims by throwing a hot pot party and getting them drunk.

The party was held at Kido’s apartment in Sakyo Ward, where the two women — one of whom was his acquaintance — were raped in the early hours of Dec. 23, police said. The two filed separate reports with police.

The suspects allegedly played a game in which a bottle of “shochu” spirits was spun to decide who would have to down a drink in one gulp.

Kozo Hiramatsu, a university official, said the school takes the matter seriously and is trying to confirm the facts.

The Kyoto University Gangsters were formed in 1947 as the first North American-style football team run by a public university. They have been the collegiate champions six times and won the Rice Bowl — the annual clash between the top university team and the top industrial league team — four times.

Both Shirai and Kido were regular players on last year’s team and retired at the end of November.

The crime of gang rape was added to the Penal Code in January 2005 after Super Free, a group of Waseda University students, was found to have gang-raped several women. Violators face a prison term of at least four years.

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